Determined Design – Designing your wellness model
This can also be seen in
Chiropractic Economics Volume 56 No8 June 3, 2010
By Glen David
Building a wellness clinic CAN, WILL and IS providing the environment in which more people will be attracted to your practice so I say, build it and they will come. Designing a wellness based practice can make the difference between a practice that struggles to survive and one that will thrive beyond your wildest expectations, the difference between trying to attract new patients and having people in your community come looking for you. That's right, if done correctly; prospective patients will be searching for you!
While the media industry reaps fortunes by reporting the doom and gloom coming from Washington and Wall Street, hundreds of Chiropractors are successfully standing up and expanding upon the only low cost, natural health care solutions that we know to be Chiropractic wellness. However, before you can design a wellness clinic to create your intended results, you must first make a few decisions.
Will this "wellness" concept strictly be additional products and services that you will be offering to your existing patient base (survive) or will this wellness concept make your practice more visible and attractive to more people in your community (thrive). For instance, If you design your wellness practice to add massage therapy, will it be because many of your patients already go to a massage therapist and you want to tap into that income stream, or will you use it to attract more people to your facility? Both work, both should be designed differently. If you are using massage to attract more patients, it should be located in the main stream of traffic flow.
Determine your specific beliefs:
Your personal beliefs have to determine how you design your wellness practice. Wellness to some doctors represents offering heat, ice, stim, ultrasound or laser therapies, while others believe that a natural expansion to the chiropractic adjustment is to increase flexibility and strengthen the muscles supporting the spine with the addition of soft tissue work and rehab equipment. The design differences are obvious and substantial. If you believe that rehab is more of a corrective care measure, the design differs from those that believe that wellness care expands into weight loss, nutritional counseling and fitness training resulting in different patient flow and space requirements. Designing a fitness center within your Chiropractic practice is extremely easy, profitable and tremendously accepted by patients. After all, most people that seek wellness already belong to a local fitness center. You do not have to plan to put the local gym out of business to be successful, and a severely scaled down version will work just fine. Be sure however, to design for a huge increase in the quantity of new patients that the fitness model will attract to your practice. Adding weight loss products and coaching to a practice will require having multiple areas in which to process new patients. Design a multifunctional lecture area along with new patient intake centers.
If your "wellness" model includes nutritional counseling, will it include the ability to purchase these products in your office? If you are designing a "patient generated" retail center, locate it in full view of patients but outside of the main patient flow pattern, avoiding traffic jams. If your retail sale will be "doctor directed" locate the main distribution area in the direct patient flow and within easy access to the CA responsible with fulfilling that order. Always keep a small "patient reminder" display area in full view. Guard against theft or misuse, preventing access by children.
Determine a Feeling:
Design your office to change the perception of your offerings to your patients. Proper design, proper implementation and proper systemization will create a wellness experience the moment they enter into your clinic. Give them the convenience of a "one stop shop" eliminating their need to look elsewhere for their wellness needs
Determine your intended patient experience:
Living colors, flowing water, friendly smiles and soft lighting will enhance a patient's wellness experience. Add plants and "naturescapes" in the form of artwork to that experience. Provide solitude. Sound isolation is mandatory to a fitness center but be sure to maintain the educational integration that is needed.
Determine Operating efficiency and convenience:
If your wellness model includes spinal pelvic stabilizers, ensure that the scanning, education and fitting areas are designed into both the treatment and exam areas of the practice. Patient flow and clinical care protocols, such as what can be found following an ASR model (Foot Levelers Adjust, Support, Rehabilitate) are simple to implement but peak profitability revolve around carefully designing the introduction of the products and services into the fabric of your care plan.
Creating a Wellness model focused around the 3 forms of stress can be easily created using a multi function approach to your exam room. Design the work stations and report areas to serve as a Consultation and Report room for both the Chiropractic and Wellness components of your practice.
Creating a model that promotes the proper way to move, think and eat may be best served by allocating 100 square feet towards a "zenlike" wellness room furnished with comfortable couches. This form of a wellness based practice revolves around patients that are willing to pay, stay and refer, which means that they are more likely to be cash based patients. This means that the additional space needed can be acquired from the less utilized billing department.
Finding space for 2-300 square feet of fitness equipment can be as easy as transforming your treatment area into a "semi-open" concept, freeing up private rooms for a different function. Educational efficiency will become critical as you have to streamline your patient's educational experience into a typical 8 week wellness program. If done correctly, they will be coming back for more. The educational "cross pollination" that a semi-open concept provides will streamline your ability to expose more people to all of the benefits that Chiropractic wellness can provide to them.
Don't wait! If you have a year or two left on your lease, start your wellness practice NOW! The worst time to implement this new concept called wellness is when it is compounded by the stress of having to move. The addition of Wellness will impact not only how you process and flow your patients, but will directly impact the volume and staffing required. To do so efficiently and profitably, it will take some getting used to. Most of our clients expand so rapidly in the first 1-2 years of establishing a wellness protocol that they would be severely limited if they began this wellness concept and just signed a brand new 5 year lease. They find it takes a few years to efficiently implement the new changes to their practice and track the growth to a point that they can project their needs into the future. By starting quickly and reacting slowly, you will be able to project the increase in demand and therefore more accurately project the appropriate staffing and space requirements.
Thinking about purchasing a building? Go slowly. Until you experience for yourself what a "wellness model" can and will mean to your practice, and you can accurately project your needs at least three years into the future, you may be locked into a highly restrictive or financially draining ownership situation for a long, long time. Remember, especially in this economy, it is easier to purchase than it is to sell. Financial penalties and restrictions that banks and the SBA impose on new purchases can cost tens of thousands of dollars if you are forced to sell quickly.
Determine capacity blocks:
Design your changes so they can be taken with you when you move or expand, both in concept, systemization and structure. Well beyond the increase in clinical services and volume, your parking will be the most effected with this addition and could become your biggest capacity block.
Build it and they will come. Just build it to suit your intended results.
|Want to see more? Watch and listen to a live interview between the developers of 8 Weeks to Wellness and one of our clients. clikc here|